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Filipinas football team coach leaves as contract expires; to 'explore other options'

By NICK GARCIA Published Aug 01, 2023 11:21 am

Alen Stajcic has left the Philippine women's national football team as his contract expired during the end of the Filipinas' FIFA Women's World Cup campaign.

In a statement on Aug. 1, Team Filipinas manager Jeff Cheng via the Philippine Football Federation website said Stajcic, as well as assistant coach Nahuel Arrarte, won't be renewed as coaches as they also asked to "explore other options."

"Coach Alen and Coach Naz have expressed their deepest gratitude for the opportunity and support they have received from the Philippine football community," Cheng said.

Stajcic noted that though he and Arrarte are outsiders, the past 20 months saw "too many highs to reflect on," including an AFC Women's Asian Cup semifinals appearance, a Southeast Asian Games bronze, an ASEAN Football Federation Championship win, as well as the historic World Cup goal and beating cohost New Zealand.

Under his watch, he said the team also maintained record-high FIFA rankings time after time.

Though the Filipinas lost to Norway 6-0, Stajcic said the match "brought shivers down our spine," especially with 34,000 patrons in attendance, 30,000 of whom are singing for the national team.

"It showed that football does belong in the Philippines, and that legacy is something we are all proud of," he said.

The coach called the Filipinas courageous, passionate, disciplined, and "loyal to the team, the flag, and the country."

"Your sacrifices should be long remembered by all Philippine Sports fans," Stajcic said. "To give hope and inspiration is the greatest of all achievements."

"I wish everyone a great future and look forward to following the next chapters in the story," he added.

Cheng wished the coaches the best of luck, noting they have shown "what is possible with proper guidance, dedication, and hard work."

"[T]heir efforts have led to the greatest achievement in Philippine football thus far—a match won against the higher-ranked host nation at a World Cup. They will surely be our beloved heroes for decades to come," the official said.

"We will never forget you and we hope that you will never forget us too. Laban, Filipinas!" he added.